BOOKS OF MAGIC #1 Review 10/10: magic means consequences, so read cautiously, for the Books of Magic in Timothy Hunter’s hands hold a mysterious and a heavy burden for the emerging teenage magician.
Realism, mystery and suspense emanate from the story.
Vertigo’s magnum opus premieres what may be the best standalone storyline of the new brilliant Sandman series in BOOKS OF MAGIC, written by Kat Howard, Illustrated by Tom Fowler, Colors by Jordan Boyd, Letters by Todd Klein, Cover by Kat Carpenter, and curated for The Sandman Universe by Neil Gaiman.
The following review of BOOKS OF MAGIC #1 may contain SPOILERS***.
Books of Magic equal consequences.
What could go wrong when Books of Magic hold the keys to Tim becoming the most powerful magician in the universe?
At the start, Tim steps into a fairy tale and magicians show him the ways of magic throughout the ages of the universe.
Fowler’s art styles change dramatically as parts of Tim’s journey are revealed in an ancient wall carving, a fairy land, and even a Picasso-esque glimpse into the “End”.
One look conveys a Big Bang-like quality, but abstract and possible end of the universe, while Tim Hunter is then brought to a choice of “safety” or “magic” as panels become a tumbling deck of cards that are his potential life.
He wakes from that choice in class talking, “Magic! I choose…”
Howard’s strong grasp of the characters’ personalities is evident in the sharp, pointed dialogue.
We can all remember back to interrupting a teacher, maybe after having fallen asleep, and their ability to bring the class to attention.
Dr. Rose shuts down a bully, at least while in her class, instantaneously with a look and a sentence.
Timothy Hunter’s destiny is there, should he choose to the find path of magic.
And just because Tim makes the initial choice of initiation does not mean that he is miraculously gifted with powers or the ability to do anything magical.
Tim Hunter’s first attempt at magic is a failure.
He tries to impress his crush Ellie with paper shreds he says will become a magical flower.
Instead the paper he tried to conjure with crumbles to the ground, unchanged, as the bully makes fun of Tim’s “problems with [his] wand.”
Tim Hunter is a teenager living in London, insecure (as we all are or were), whose Mom and teacher have disappeared.
Dr. Rose replaced Tim’s teacher in a timely manner, and she may or may not be responsible for bloodily murdering her predecessor in The Sandman Universe 1 (see “Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Universe 1 Unravels Dreaming” for a brief recap).
Dr. Rose reveals herself to Tim following his fistfight in the school’s hallway.
She explains that no magic comes without a cost.
It is an ominous note, especially considering she may not have his best intentions at heart (remember the bloodied predecessor).
But Dr. Rose does give Tim his first Book of Magic.
“Your destiny is to find your magic in books…” she says.
What a powerful concept!
But this, the first of the Books of Magic, is blank.
It will remain blank until he is ready.
Its first words are revealed and explain that, “Magic is neither good nor bad. Only its use determines its character. There are always consequences for its use.”
Tim is astounded and impatient and the book goes blank again.
The grim tone shifts toward a back alley where three hooded figures share a vision of Tim in a oil barrel.
They want to ensure that “some books must not be read.”
And with that we close on the outside of Tim’s home, with an assassin standing bye, with knives drawn, repeating the message of censorship.
And a furious Dr. Rose looks on at the hooded assassin . . . with her fist clenched.
When can I pick up Issue #2 from my local comic shop?
POWKABAM Score for BOOKS OF MAGIC #1 = 10/10
- Writing: 10
- Art: 10
- Dialogue: 10
- Innovation: 10
- Intrigue: 10
“BOOKS OF MAGIC #1 Review 10/10: Magic Means Consequences” was written by R.J. Huneke.